Romania - Mountains, Monasteries and Medieval Cities
Farms are small family units, still farming traditionally
farming methods are still used and have hardly changed over the
centuries. This has preserved a landscape that is virtually unseen
elsewhere in Europe, with extensive areas of flower and insect rich hay
meadows and pasture. This way of life is increasingly coming under
threat and their are a number of trusts being set up to preserve it and to provide markets for the farmers.
The houses are surrounded by small plots of land that are used for growing fruit and vegetables for family use. Many grow vines for shade as well as producing wine for family consumption.
Hens, ducks and geese scratch around in the yard or along the road side verges.
The fields surrounding the village are divided into long thin strips, growing food for sale in the local markets. There are no field boundaries and the landscape probably resembles the Medieval field system.
The valley slopes are used for hay meadows and pasture. At the end of May, the hay meadows were yellow with buttercups. The low level hay meadows are cut twice a year by machine. The upper slopes are cut once a year by scythe. The hay is dried on wooden racks in the fields before being brought back to the village by horse and cart of tractor. Saxon farmers traditionally used a hay barn for storage, Romanian farmers store the hay in beehive shaped stacks outside.
Cattle graze on communal pastures round the village during the day in the care of a cowherd and return each night to be milked. This is either used by the family or collected from the village to go to the local milk processing factory. The sale of milk is one of the main sources of income.
In Moldavia, many farmers take their animals to the high pastures for the summer months. There are hay barns in the fields.
The woodlands are an important source of wood for fuel as well as building. Villagers forage for fungi, fruit and nuts in the autumn and pigs roam in search of acorns.
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